This show is all about helping you tell better stories, spread your message and grow your business. It’s mostly going to be interviews that are 30-40 minutes long where I discover the storytelling secrets and best practices of top entrepreneurs, influencers and world-changers. We’ll learn about how to apply storytelling to copywriting, content marketing and speaking.
Since I’m going to focus most of my time on interviewing experts I thought I would take a moment in this first episode to introduce myself and explain why I started this podcast.
Storytelling is something that has fascinated me since I was a kid. The way it engages the imagination, emotions and creates a deeper connection with the audience is incredible. It’s transformed my business and the businesses of my clients.
I first started my storytelling career as a songwriter. I was 20 years old, had a blue guitar certain the only way I was going to live a happy and fulfilled life was through music. I loved stringing together words and melodies to create powerful experiences. I played in a few bands, and I played by myself. I played shows in cozy coffee shops, or blaring rock sets covered in sharpie tattoos. I even organized a benefit concert in while living in Argentina and had a local party rock band learn my songs.
Though I never became a rockstar. I rediscovered the passion for storytelling again in a very different place. Around 6 years later, I found myself on a one-way ticket to Asia. I was going to work with entrepreneurs Dan Norris and Alex McLafferty by running the content marketing for their startup WP Curve. Content marketing was the most important growth channel for the business.
I’ve got to be honest with you, I didn’t hit the ground running. Those first few months I started each day staring at a blank page feeling like I’d just been asked to diffuse a bomb with a pair of tweezers and some bubble gum.
As I began to hit my stride, I noticed the skills and passions I was drawing on to create content were the same as I did with music. Those years of working hard to arrange words and notes in a way that created an emotional connection served me well in this new work. It meshed well with the new skills of writing clearly and simply to make the ideas as easy as possible to share and spread.
Sharing WP Curve’s story changed the course of my own story. I began to build human connections with those reading the blog. These little connections unfolded in ways that I could never have anticipated. A responding to a comment grew slowly into a relationship with a mentor that would change my life several times. A conversation over email evolved into a lifelong friendship. Mentioning someone in a link turned into a powerful and profitable collaborations. It’s not something you can anticipate or plan for, but being honest and generous in your storytelling can provide value far beyond traffic, leads and sales.
Which brings me to the “why” behind this podcast.
Why did I start this podcast?
The book The Story Engine and the blog thestoryengine.co have been around for about a year (at least at the recording of this episode). The book has succeeded far beyond what I ever anticipated and it has helped build a thriving community of storytellers.
I site has been built on thoughtful written content, just like what I learned to create at WP Curve. But I wanted to extend the content beyond the limits of my own knowledge and wanted to start a podcast for a while now… But I was dragging my heels.
I’ll be honest, just like some of you listening now who have worked with me, been coached by me or simply reached out and said hello. I was afraid to start. I thought “there’s thousands of interview based business podcasts out there, it’s been done, so what’s the point?”
How crazy is that? The guy who wrote the book on content marketing and brand storytelling is getting hung up on pretty much the oldest mindset block on the internet…
In case you’ve ever heard that same whisper in the back of your mind know that it’s crap.
It pretty much had to get to the point where people were threatening me with violence if I didn’t start a show… Ok that’s a little dramatic, but many people started asking and finally I just could not ignore it anymore.
It took a long-time mentor of mine James Schramko confronting me to change my tune. James is a special person in my life. He was the first comment on my first post I wrote for WP Curve. He connected me with my first customer after I left WP Curve to start my own business. And amazing things happen every time I’m a guest on his podcast. So his is a voice I can’t ignore.
I told him how great I was doing at getting on other people’s podcasts, I had an amazing system set up that was getting awesome results. He said that’s great, but it doesn’t have the cumulative effect of having your own show. I knew he was right…
At this point I already had all the makings of a podcast already in motion. For anyone that’s been reading my content for a while you know I love to collaborate and connect with people through content. I think it’s one of the most powerful and easiest ways to build relationships.
I was interviewing different experts for my blog and turning it into a written article. I had a team in place to write it out, polish it and add graphics. Which was working pretty well, but it took a lot of extra work on the front end and the back end to make it an article. Plus some of the amazing personality of the brilliant people I was interviewing was getting lost in translation.
So I kept doing the interviews, but instead started framing them as a podcast. I put together a simple landing page that gave a brief description of what the podcast was about and how it would benefit a guest to be on it, and had a button to a call scheduler. And magic started happening before I even published a single episode.
I had a new tool to connect and speak with many of the great minds I had met over the past few years at different events, or online. It was thrilling to finally have a way to speak with them.
In the interviews I would follow my intuition and curiosity and realized I was onto something special when I started hearing guests respond “Great question! I’ve been interviewed hundreds of times and I’ve never been asked that before”.
Guests began to connect me with other brilliant and interesting people and I soon had a folder full of interviews that I absolutely had to share.
And so here were are! The first episode of The Story Engine podcast, I hope you enjoy this show as much as I enjoy creating it. I’m always open to suggestions for guests or feedback on how I can improve it more.
That’s enough about me, we’ve got an incredible line of up guests to hear from! So let’s get started!